ATHENS, Georgia — Jeb Bush tailgated on the University of Georgia campus Saturday ahead of that school's football team taking on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, in a match up ripe for politicians looking ahead to both states' early primary elections.
Speaking with reporters, the candidate weighed further into the controversy stirred by rival Donald Trump who failed to correct a supporter's false assertion that President Obama is a Muslim.
"My problem with President Obama is the fact that he has a foreign policy that allows for Islamic terrorism to breed and to be strengthened," Bush said. "That's where the focus ought to be."
Bush first spoke out on the subject Friday in Michigan when he said, "Barack Obama is a talented man, and by the way, he’s an American, he’s a Christian. His problem isn’t the fact that he was born here, or what his faith is, his problem is he’s a progressive liberal that tears down anybody that disagrees with him."
The scene at the tailgate Saturday was reminiscent of the Iowa State Fair earlier this year, as the Republican presidential candidate was mobbed for selfies and autographs by students and others tailgating ahead of the game.
The governor delivered an abbreviated version of his stump speech touching on his goals for economic growth and asking for support in the coming primary elections, but he spent the vast majority of the event greeting the crowd individually.
Asked repeatedly which team had his support Saturday, Bush said he was "neutral," but quickly added he predicts Georgia will win the conference.
One attendee at the tailgate brought Bush a baseball cap emblazoned with an American flag, which the candidate promptly put on saying, "make America great," in a nod to Trumps campaign slogan.
One group of students told Bush they're fans of Trump but wanted a photo with the governor anyway. The crowd broke into chants of "Jeb" several times thought the afternoon.
Bush attended the game following the tailgate, tweeting several photos from inside the stadium.